Auburn strikes gold in junior college ranks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There’s an old rule of thumb concerning junior college players: In short, there’s a reason they’re at junior college in the first place.

In Auburn’s case, the Tigers have struck gold in the junior college ranks under Gene Chizik.

After all, what are the chances of bringing in the Heisman Trophy winner and Lombardi Award winner from junior college in a span of two years?

Cam Newton and Nick Fairley have been the two best players at their positions this season in college football, and they both came to Auburn from junior college.

Newton played at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas during the 2009 season after beginning his career at Florida. Fairley spent two years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. He redshirted during the 2007 season and played during the 2008 season.

Together, they rank as perhaps the best one-two punch in SEC history in terms of two players of that caliber coming to the same school via junior college.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik pointed out that offensive tackle Brandon Mosley and cornerback/kick returner Demond Washington were also key additions from the junior college ranks.

“I think our assistant coaches have done a great job evaluating those guys,” Chizik said. “And, you know, you never know what you may get. It’s kind of a … little bit different dynamic when you are dealing with junior college players, simply because there is a lot of circumstances out there.

“So you’ve got to get the right guy, not just the right player. He has got to be the right guy, and my staff has done a great job evaluating the right people and bringing them in to help our football team to win.”